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The shy fish prefer to follow fish that are similarly timid
60秒科学节目（SSS）是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目，英文名称：Scientific American – 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主，节目仅一分钟的时间，主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍，对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术，提供了大量简明易懂的阐释
When you think of a leader, you may think of an individual who is above all bold. But a new study of fish called sticklebacks shows that shy individuals actually prefer to follow fish that are similarly timid.
Researchers had trios of sticklebacks with known personalities play follow the leader. The fish were placed in a tank that had some plastic plants at one end and some food hidden at the other. In some of the groups, a bold fish and a shy fish acted as leaders, while another shy fish followed. And in other groups, it was a bold fish that did the following. The researchers recorded whether the follower sallied forth more frequently with the fish that was behaviorally similar or the one that was different.
What they found is that shy fish were more likely to emerge from under cover when an equally wary fellow was already out there. Bold follower fish did not seem to care which leader they followed.
Of course, no matter which fish a stickleback chose to stick with, the bold fish did lead more expeditions over the course of the experiment than their more retiring friends. That’s because the bold fish initiated more trips, regardless of who might be tailing them. The findings are in the journal Biology Letters.
The researchers write that “when offered a choice of leaders, sticklebacks prefer to follow individuals whose personality matches their own, but bolder individuals may, nevertheless, be able to impose their leadership, even among shy followers, simply through greater effort.” We may soon see if such tendencies also hold true in humans, when Americans decide who they’ll follow in November. Unless, of course, something fishy happens.
Thanks for listening for Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I’m Karen Hopkin.